Ex-Nigerian ambassador drags ex-Foreign Affairs Minister, Onyeama, to US court

Former Nigerian Ambassador to Namibia and Head of Mission in Jamaica, Lilian Onoh, has sued immediate past Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, for alleged defamation of character in a court in Texas, United States.

In the originating summons, the suit also listed the publisher and Chief Executive Officer of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, as well as the former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Gabriel Aduda, as defendants.

The suit which was filed on behalf of Onoh by her lawyer, Steven Thornton on December 22, in US District Court of the Northern District of Texas for Libel, Assault, Slander, alleges that the trio, using Sahara Reporters, had defamed Onoh to “discredit her exposure of corruption in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where Onyeama was Minister from 2015 – 2023.”

In the filing, Thornton said the online platform in April, published an article saying Onoh was sacked by the Nigerian government on account of misappropriation of N50 million meant for the running of Nigeria’s high commission in Namibia.

Thornton noted that the online paper published Onoh’s photograph in the story, to ensure the object of the story was not mistaken, adding that statements and claims credited to Aduda and Onyeama were the basis of the story.

“The reason for their making false statements about Ms Onoh was to discredit her following her reporting of corruption,” the court documents said

Specifically, as an Ambassador, Ms Onoh had reported multiple incidents of embezzlement of millions of U.S. Dollars and billions of naira of Nigerian government funds by various Nigerian officials.

“Further, she reported the embezzlement of $2.8 million in Red Cross funds meant for Haiti earthquake victims as well as the egregious acts of visa racketeering against the USA and other countries in which her successor in Jamaica had engaged.

“Ms. Onoh was never terminated from any posting with the Nigerian government for misappropriation of funds,” the documents said.

The filing noted that the former envoy is praying the court for “all such other and further relief at law and in equity to which Ms. Onoh may show herself to be justly entitled

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